Monday, 25 January 2010

Tyranids Tactica - FOC to FAC

Thoughts and Plans for the Tyranids...

For those out there looking at building a Tyranid List ... or looking at fighting one, here's what you can look to expect to see developed from the new Tyranid Army List. The lists below are comprised of those units I think players will see and field the most regularly - and who gives the best 'bang for the buck!' - feel free to comment!

In addition, I'm also going to look at the Weaponry/Wargear that would prove most compelling against the Horde...

HQ: The Tyranids have gone from three HQ options to five. Listed here is a close combat monster, two unit breeders and some interesting Here's my top five:
  1. In the Top Spot ... the Tyranid Prime will appear with regular monotony. He may not have the 'tricks' of the other HQ's, but he's very cheap - tough as old boots, and when armed with a bonesword and Lash whip - rock solid. Placed in a horde of Termagaunts - this guy can soak up the firepower and deliver dependable Synapse to your force.
  2. The Swarmlord: On first glance he looks vulnerable, but when deployed with a brood of lashwhip Tyrant Guard, he's a close combat monster that'll attract a lot of attention an firepower. If he makes it into combat, he'll be a nightmare to put down - even forcing thunder hammer and storm shield Termies to reroll their invulnerables. His ability would also counteract the ability of the Seercouncil to get rerollable invulnerables - combined with the 'Shadow in the Warp' ability - the Eldar better watch out!
  3. The Parasite: Brings up third place. He's going to be a bullet magnet ... but he is Sooo much fun to play. Think S6 Lictor with a Gargoyle bodyguard... He can automatically damage any opponents flanking unit (not good for wolf scouts!), he can supply much needed Synapse as the other IC to the Tyranid Prime. Placed with a 'delivery' unit of Gargoyles, the Parasite can effective 'build' his own army by build D6 Ripper Swarms from 50% of guard kills and 33% of Space Marine kills. Prepare to see him heading up Gargoyle Swarms on Tyranid Shrike Broods 'spreading the love!' - that said - I think he'll suffer the same as most IC's in that he'll be targetted and downed early. He's pricey (like Tervigon/Carnifex/Tyrant pricey) and that will limit his use - but Guardsmen, tau and Eldar should just assume he's on board.
  4. The Hive Tyrant: He's vanilla. However the combination of his psychic abilities, the Bonesword and his upgrades make him highly versatile. He's also capable of having his armour upgraded to a 2+ ... making him the only unit with this apart from the Tyrannofex. Downside - he's quite pricey - his basic price is good, but by the time you've added your options and requisite wings/armour - you may as well have bought the Swarmlord.
  5. Tervigon: the Tervigon is one of the best new MC's in the codex and will appear A LOT - but not in HQ... check out the Troops section for the Tervigon.
Elites: The Elites section got a real shake up under the new codex. Most of the units added are a little 'meh?' to say the least ... here's my top five (and the also ran's):
  1. Zoanthropes: These are now more valuable than gold. Zoanthropes provide Synapse, Shadow in the Warp AND awesome anti MeQ and anti Armour, the old Zoanthrope couldn't hit the side of a barn door at point blank... the new one is really tasty. Armed with lots of (what were) extras for free - the Zoanthrope is very cheap for its punch. These units will be the single biggest detterent to taking tanks against Nids, as their S10 Lance weapon gets deployed at point blank from a Mycetic Spore.
  2. Hive Guard: I'm NOT a fan... but many in the Blogosphere love these guys. Basically this is where the Zoat went... the 24" S8 2 assault gun is cool and particularly cool as they don't need LOS. However these boys aren't numerous enough to weather the S7 love that'll hit them everytime. T6 is good. The price tag less so - considering the Zoanthrope gets an invulnerable 3+ and a S10 lance weapon (albeit at 18") for just 10pts less... I'd buy Zoanthropes.
  3. Lictors: They're better than they were. Seriously dangerous when combining their +1 cover save with high initiative, lots of attacks and S6 flesh hook guns?!? A sub par unit for killing tanks (which was it's old job) ... a brilliant unit for delivering Gargoyles/Ravenors or rippers on target... as they arrived automatically within 6" to the Lictor. Great for playing 'guess the drop zone' with your opponent.
  4. Deathleaper: A pricey lictor with so many bonuses its easy to forget. At WS9 even space marines will only hit him on a 5+. He's got XV25 stealth abilities, forces everyone to be rubbish at moving through cover and most importantly can chip D3 leadership off an enemy character. If you were thinking of taking Psykers against nids - don't bother, your Wolf Lords now leadership 7 and has to take a test on 3D6 within 12" of Synapse creatures... nice!
  5. The Dooom of Malan'tai: Uber Zoanthrope that'll be shoved down your throat, eat your units and then turn into a S10 Ap1 bomb. Expect to see this against Orks ... although it's unclear how the Spirit Leech works against fearless units!?!
The Others ... are pointless. Pyrovores and Venomthropes ... hmm, who thought of them? The Pyrovore is a 'fighty' monster with 1 attack at initiative 1... how? As far as I can tell - it bleeds on people and then has a chance to explode ... with only a 4+ save T4 - it's never going to get there. The Venomthrope is like the 'toxin sac'd' hormagaunt overpriced, fairly crap cousin. Yes he gives a 5+ save to everyone in a toxic cloud ... but who cares when you've got Zoanthropes? As for Ymgarl Genestealers?? I'm confused - are these supposed to be good ... because they are $£!¬

Troops: Ok bread and butter time, here's the top five (hint: you'll be facing a bucket load of these things ... I mean like millions!
  1. Tervigon: Yes the nids can now buy a 6 wound, T6 3+ MC as a troop choice (free with 10 Termagaunts)... it'll sit on the home objective and breed 3D6 Termagaunts a turn. Not as tough as a Carnifex or as choppy as a Trygon - but you try killing it. Regeneration seems like a must for these guys ... oh and combined with HQ choice, you could see Tervigon spam going on, with armies fielding up to 5 tervigons for a bare 950 pts. Yes ... that's 5*3D6 Termagaunts bred a turn (50 average) ... trying killing them with a 1000pt army?!? Oh and the Tervigon can make it's bullet shield FNP for a bare 15pts... so thats 50 FNP termagaunts a turn - give up, now.
  2. Termagaunts: Close second. These guys have taken a serious buff in this codex... mainly because Hormagaunts and Genestealers can no longer assault into cover. Your 5pt Termagaunt has a boltpistol equivilent and (thanks to Tervigon Mummy) is effectively free. Termagaunts are also the obvious 'nesting' for Tyranid Prime ... so expect to see lots of this combination. The only gun worth buying for the Termagaunt is the devourer. Yes it will make the Termagaunt a 10pt model ... but 60 BS3 S4 shots deploying out of a Mycetic Spore on your objective ... led by a Tryanid Prime - nasty!
  3. Hormagaunts: So cheap now. They are only WS3 and no longer have a 24" charge and no fleshhooks, but these S3 beasties are now cheap enough that you can buy enough to counteract the losses you'll face in the first round. Your old Hormagaunt was 14 pts for an I5, S4, flesh hooked model. Now, he's just 7 points for I5 as standard, toxin sacs (4+ to wound) or adrenal glands (furious charge). The furious charge is a must against Guardsmen (3+ to wound round one and antitank glancing) whereas the toxin sacs are essential against Space Marines... Hormagaunts are also 3 attacks on the charge. Their bounding leap now give them 3 'move through cover' moves ... which means while they charge slower - they'll get there a lot quicker.
  4. Tyranid Warriors: Warriors aren't the 'Synpase requirement' they once were, as between Tervigon's, Primes and others, that options covered. As each Tryanid is the same price as 6 Termagaunts or 5 Hormagaunts ... why bother. Simple answer, lashwhips and boneswords. These guys give you access to large units of power weapons and cover charging apparatus, they also offer some nice midfield gunnery. Whether this outweighs the 'weight of numbers' price difference is arguable ... i'm erring on the side of not.
  5. Ripper Swarms: Ripper's are now pretty good. They still cannot hold objectives (boo, Pg 90), but with 4 attacks and 3 wounds and stealth, their low profile and their ability to deepstrike - these guys are suddenly a must as the 'pre charge chargers' - nothing says 'don't shoot at my hormagaunts' as well as a bunch of rippers...
Also ran: well genestealers.... these guys have really suffered in this codex. Their only role (I can see) is as infiltrating 'gone to ground' objective holders ... but why take them when Warriors have Synapse or the Tervigon's tougher. While they would be a problem to charge ... genestealers are grist to the mill of Flamers and would be eaten up. The Broodlord (60pts) is still rock hard, but since he cannot charge into cover - he'd get walloped and has been outdone by the Tyranid Prime. All in all, genestealers are a waste of points. You'll lose nearly as many stealers as hormagaunts on the charge into cover ... and the hormagaunt has the same number of attacks. Even flanking cannot save these guys, as no-one's walking into that mistake twice. I fear stealers will be spending the next five years in retirement, as they've really lost a role.

Fast Attack: In my opinion, there's only really one option worth taking in fast attack ... exepct to see the skies swarming with huge hordes of them.
  1. Gargoyles: 6 pts for a termagaunt with a 12" run and S4 gun and 'rending lite' in the blinding venom. Against everything, these guys are now pretty useful - against Guardsmen and Tau - they're invaluable. Particularly lethal when combined with the Parasite - they're helpful the rest of the time. The jump infantry allows them to 'ambush' units out of cover (unlike slower units) although their bigger profile makes shooting them much much easier.
  2. Spore Mine Cluster: S4 AP4 isn't to be sneered at. I'm intrigued by the 'area denial' options these small units can open up ... allowing them to deploy before the opponent means that Dawn of War gets complex... and gives you options.
  3. Tryanid Shrike: Lash Whips and Boneswords make them an option ... but you may as well bring a Mycetic Spore and normal warriors for that job... it's cheaper and more reliable. Cost 6 Gargoyles each.
  4. Ravenors: bit of a rubbish Warrior with an overpriced gun. Costs 5 Gargoyles each ... nuff said.
  5. Harpy: nothing says 'target' like a winged monster with big guns, bigger wings and T5, 4W's and 4+ armour... prepare the autocannons for 'kill'!
Also ran: Sky-Slasher ... I wouldn't run them on principle because of the name ... but Sky Slashers are 3 pts more expensive than deep striking rippers and a bigger target 'above' cover saves ... so why?

Heavy Support: Another very well improved FOC... but for just one reason
  1. Trygon: It deepstrikes with impunity, is a monster in H2H and can deliver the hurt (and a bunch of termagaunts/hormagaunts the following turn. The Nid's have needed a 'chaos sower' and this is it. Deepstrike in their back door and wait for the screams. Downside, it's a big target - but then again you kinda want that it a distraction? The T6 and 6W will see it through. I'm not yet convinced that the 12 S5 shots and synapse are worth an additional 40pts - but against psyker armies (and who would) it will be a useful killer. Just to reiterate, this guy gets 7 S6 MC attacks on the charge with a reroll to hit (thanks to duel Scythtals) ... nice!
  2. Mawloc: Second and such a poor second ... only beat Biovores because it's a gorgeous model. unlike it's meatier cousin above the Mawloc has a S6 AP2 big blast party trick. However this will 'most likely' require him arriving in the mids of a horde of Terminators or tanks ... none of which will give him a chance next turn. Thanks to a huge oversite by GW, the Mawloc has WS3 and Only 3 attacks. This means he WILL KILL exactly 1 guy a turn ... which means a combat squad with a powerfist will effectively nullify a Mawloc (wound for wound) over 4 turns (oh and he arrived on turn 2) ... scrub that, a imperial Guard Infantry Command Squad with a powerfist would achieve the same for a bare 45pts ... DO NOT EVEN bother!
  3. Biovore: yeah, yeah I know - a bloody Biovore, who'd thought it. But rather than buying those spores from fast attack (and wasting slots for Gargoyles) a biovore pretty cheap. He also has a 48" S4 AP4 pinning large blast weapon ... that's pretty good! As a guard player who swears by Mortars, I can't help but like these guys ... oh and every miss (unlike mortars) turns into spore mines (more area denial shernannigans!)...
  4. Tyrannofex: He's a MC with a 2+ save and a 48" S10 tankkiller gun. Downside, by the time you've given him that gun (Rupture Cannon) and Regenerate (which he'll need), he costs the same as 5 Zoanthropes. Oh, and he's as bad in combat as the Mawloc... talk about a jump pack magnet!
  5. Carnifex: (I'm not EVEN talking about Old One Eye!) The Carnifex costs the same as a Tervigon and apart from being S9, he's not as specialised as he was... 3+ save only is a real nerf and he's only got 4 wounds - which makes him the 'little brother' of all the other MCs. By the time he's walked the entire length of the board OR bought a Mycetic spore he's either dead or more than a Trygon. He is the only other unit (apart from the Lictor) who can charge into close combat ... but he's Maximum I4. I'm sorry to say that the Carnifex (like the Genestealers) is going into retirement in my force. In fact I'm considering the old 'snip snip' for the old codger - and making him a Tervigon.
Weapons against the Hive Mind

The following are a list of weapons that I believe will become the 'necessary' against the hive mind:
  • Missile Launchers: cheap and plentiful ... you can switch between S4 blasts and S8 anti MC/Warrior shots. These guys are back in.
  • Flamers: either heavy or normal. Necessary for fighting in terrain (and in terrain is where YOU want to be fighting) ... saves you having to worry about fighting some stupid genestealers too! Remember most Tyranids can go to ground in cover AND still give you a spanking in close combat ... adopt Tau tactica and flamer the buggers!
  • Mortars (or the Mech equivilent): Big pie plates of bang will flatten the hordes and make the rapid fire clean up much easier. Consider taking whirlwinds, Griffons and the like for indescriminate bombardment. Also the comparative cheapness of these (for Guard at least) will mean the missile can concentrate on the big boys.
  • Don't bring psykers: If you think your 'helm of warding' or 'runes of goading' will help one bit, don't bother. When that Trygon Prime turns up, or a Zoanthrope in a Spore, or the Parasite, or a Warrior Brood or 19 Termagaunts in a Spore led by a Tyranid Prime ... your Psychic powers will become a liability. And that's not even mentioning Deathleaper...
  • Don't bring mechanised. In case you haven't noticed, the Nids have got enough anti-tank options now to make a Prime blush. 3x3 Zoanthropes jump to mind, but hive guards and other options abound ... oh and enormous deep striking Monstrous Creatures... you failed to spot those.
  • 'Stay indoors, lock the door and prepare to repel boarders...': The biggest advantage you have is your cover. Defend your ground and you'll hit first. Sacrifice a unit and rapid fire them to bits ... Even the Trygon hits last - so let them come to you. If you walk out in the streets - you will get eaten (unless you are a terminator with a Thunder Hammer and Stormshield). It does sort of limit your options though doesn't it?
Example List

Just in case you didn't think this post was long enough ... here's my preffered 'fun list'...

HQ: Parasite of Mortrex - 160
HQ: Tyranid Prime (Devourer, Bonesword and Lash whip, Adrenal Glands, Regeneration) - 115
Elites: Zoanthropes x2 - 120
Elites: Zoanthropes x1 - 60
Elites: Lictor x1 - 65
Troops: Tervigon, Regenerate - 185
Troops: 19 Termagaunts with Devourers and Mycetic Spore (Barbed Strangler) - 245
Troops: 21 Hormagaunts, adrenal glands - 147
Troops: 21 Hormagaunts, adrenal glands - 147
Fast Attack: 21 Gargoyles, adrenal glands - 147
Heavy Support: Trygon, Regenerate, Adrenal Glands - 235
Heavy Support: Trygon, Regenerate, Adrenal Glands - 235
Heavy Support: 3 Biovore - 135

Total: 1996 points

Tactics: Tervigon and Biovores sit at the back and mass produced spore mines and Termagaunts... holding their objectives... The Prime deploys via DS with the devilgaunts in the Spore. The Trygons appear (hopefully together) and the Lictor allows the Gargoyles to Deep strike ... if the Gargoyles (and the Parasite) DS first, then they go somewhere 'safe' on a flank. The MC's and the Zoanthropes go after tanks (The Adrenal Glands on the Trygons' give S7 on the charge - average roll 14), while the Biovore's and Termagaunts target units... If the opponent sits back (in cover) he'll face too many Termagaunts and Ripper Swarms to deal with... if he attacks ... good!

I've got over 30 normal Termagaunts... if the Tervigon can spawn all of them in a game - I'll be a happy man.